Sequels can be a major thorn in the rear. The reason why we all flock to see them is because it’s nice to experience a film in which you already know all the characters, the dynamic between them, and it’s easy to just sit back and enjoy the ride from there on out. What’s never enjoyable is when those same characters have nothing more to offer you and by the end of the film you really wish they’d just go away and leave you to mourn them. “The Hangover Part III” is not an epic finale as its tagline claims it to be. It’s overly long, stagnant, not funny in the least, and a gigantic waste of time.
The Wolf Pack (which apparently includes Doug (Justin Bartha) even though they always find an excuse not to include him in the adventure) decide to stage an intervention after Allen (Zach Galifianakis) begins acting up, his dad dies, and they find out he’s been off his meds for six months. Of course in Allen-world, that doesn’t really mean anything since he always seems to act the same with or without his medication. The guys band together for a two-day road trip that will take Allen to New Horizons, a treatment center in Arizona. Before they can get there though, they’re chased down by a man named Marshall (John Goodman) who claims that Chow (Ken Jeong) stole $20 million in gold bars from him four years ago.
Marshall kidnaps Doug as insurance and leaves Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Allen to their own devices in finding Chow, who has escaped the Bangkok prison where he was taken at the end of the last film. That’s where you think it’ll get funny, right? Wrong. Somehow, “The Hangover Part III” turns into a mess of unfunny disasters that includes violence and cruel animal treatment. Director and co-writer Todd Phillips thought it would be hilarious to sever a giraffe’s head and bring back Heather Graham for no explainable reason other than to forcibly try and gain a few laughs.
I’ll cut to the chase: “The Hangover” was and still is funny and original. The mystery of trying to figure out what happened to the characters the previous night and the search for Doug keeps the laughs coming throughout the film. The second installment follows pretty much the same pattern although it’s slightly awkward and entirely predictable. The third installment, trying too hard to possibly go out with a bang, really ends up going out with a soft whimper.
The problem is that “Part III” takes itself and its characters too seriously. Somehow, the plot is used to avoid Allen’s problems and he becomes progressively more annoying (if that’s even possible) as the movie hurdles along painfully. The movie only comes to reveal that if you strip away the layer (a very, very thin layer) all that’s left is the realization that these characters are not very pleasant at all. Even the audience’s chuckles were very few and far between.
“Part III” also tries using a couple of emotional moments to give the movie more depth but the attempts fall completely flat. Let’s face it, “The Hangover” was never about any kind of emotional depth and trying to attempt that in the final installment makes the film a cringe-worthy and eye-rolling experience. Even all the actors don’t seem to be into the story, a lot of the scenes failing simply because the writing is underwhelming and weak. The violence is unnecessary and Chow, as funny as he is in the original, should only be used in small doses.
Justin Bartha is simply just there out of convenience and the poor guy, who actually does have good comedic timing, is driven out of the story. Personally, he should have replaced either Allen or Stu just to alter the dynamic a bit. It would’ve been more interesting this way. And after the second installment, “Part III” is a disappointment simply because it decides to turn into a shadow of itself. The mere fact that it tries to be serious is probably the only laughable aspect.
“The Hangover Part III” is a completely missed opportunity. All the remotely could-have-been funny scenes are shown in the trailer and its run time is so long that it’ll have you looking at your watch and wondering when it’ll all be over. It’s one of those films that decided it would run with its premise from the original and wear it out until left for dead on the desert highway to Las Vegas. Bland and boring, “Part III” won’t provide any laughs and will only succeed in giving you a headache.